Sparkle

If there’s anything I hate most about the Oscars it’s the way the movie awards have the power to influence filmmaking. This time of year it’s more and more difficult to tell if certain films are even meant for us, the audience, or if they should solely be shown to the Academy in exchange for little gold men. Of course, one of the purposes of baiting for Oscars is to receive nominations and especially wins, which will presumably help earn more money at the box office (or, more likely, from the cable outlet). This still excludes satisfying the audience as the primary impulse and objective of making movies. In theory, accolades should indeed motivate Hollywood to make the best pictures they could possibly make. There’s still something to be said for art being the best when not aiming for praise and prizes, but in terms of studio product, which is more craft and entertainment than art and expression, such goals can be positive inspiration. Without the Oscars we probably still would have seen a profit-aiding progression of special effects technology and artistry, but surely some production values have improved over time as a result of sound recordists and costume designers and art directors and composers and songwriters striving to be known as the best in their field.

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Sparkle

Just to be clear, Sparkle isn’t a ripoff of Dream Girls. It’s a remake of the 1976 movie that Dream Girls ripped off, and there’s a different. Sort of. Featuring Jordin Sparks, Cee-Lo green and, of course, Whitney Houston‘s last film performance, the movie tells the story of three sisters who have the gift of song and decide to share it with the world even if their mother isn’t too keen on it. As expected, the big bad world is a bit more complex and dangerous than sitting at home. If you avoid laughing too loudly when Sparks introduces herself as Sparkle, you’ll be able to hear some stirring music and enjoy a production design/shot style that does, in fact, look like a ripoff of Dream Girls. Enjoy!

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If, for whatever reason, Bill Condon’s Dreamgirls didn’t strike you as a shiny enough spectacle, here comes Salim Akil‘s remake of Sparkle, which tells essentially the same story as Dreamgirls, though the film’s first trailer resembles a glossy music video devoid of any of the top-notch performance or actual drama that made Dreamgirls even remotely watchable. Alas, the film does feature a number of interesting actors (including Jordin Sparks in her first feature, Mike Epps, and Derek Luke), and what will likely end up the film’s big selling point – the final performance of Whitney Houston. The original Sparkle hit screens in 1976, thanks to director Sam O’Steen and writers Joel Schumacher (really) and Howard Rosenman, with music composed by Curtis Mayfield and no less than Aretha Franklin singing the songs for the film’s soundtrack. The film was loosely based on the story of The Supremes, featuring singing sisters who hit it big in the 1950s, until they fell prey to all the VH1 Behind the Music stuff like drugs and internal strife. Oh, yeah, and Sparkle is one of the most direct inspirations of the Broadway musical that went on to become Dreamgirls. But this is all pretty evident in the film’s first trailer.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s all the movie news that’s fit to print. So, please, print it out and read it on your morning commute. The videos are especially effective that way. We begin this evening with four arms. This is just one of the ninety-seven images that Disney released in support of John Carter which means that if you make a flipbook of them, you’ve got a nice cheap version of the movie. Plus, John Carter wants you to read!

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the movie website equivalent of stuffing a turkey with three chickens and an eel. News of all shapes and sizes finds itself among some strange bedfellows here even if you can’t sleep. We get things started with a metric ton of images and information about The Muppets. If you’re willing to brave the spoilers, /film has everything from character descriptions to photos to trivia. Or, you can let the burning questions wash over you. Why is Kermit behind bars? Does it have anything to do with inter-species sex laws? Why wouldn’t it?

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